SCOM 2007: Utility to Count Total Instances in Your Management Group

Scom is a great product but from time to time you need a custom build tool or script to do just the thing, or change just that bit that’s not possible in the SCOM console.

I’m personally a huge fan of the Powershell cmdlet supplied with SCOM. For most of the tasks (whether it’s automating or extending SCOM) it does the trick quickly and easily.

From time to time there’s a tool passing by on the world wide web that fills a gap to make our lives as a SCOM admin more easy.

Yesterday another of these fine tools emerged:

Note: You need to register to download the tool.

This is the first version of the nice tool to count the instances per management group. This can be helpful to troubleshoot your environment. The PowerShell script which was posted in the community a while back took sometimes 3 hours to complete the task while this nice .net program is taking minutes…

You need .net framework 4 to run the tool.

Keep an eye on the topic because I’m sure it will progress in the next days like the authors mentioned in the topic itself.

SCOM 2007R2: Ramp Up Guide

I came across an excellent list written by Sonda (MPFE in UK) of all the required resources you’ll need to get up to speed with SCOM 2007 R2.

There’s plenty of info for the absolute rookie and the novice.

You can find the exhaustive list here:

If you are looking for a similar list of links to resource for Service Manager look no further. Kurt Van Hoecke created a nice list of all the resources you’ll need to get you going.

Happy reading Smile

SCOM 2007: Cumulative Update 5 is released

Yesterday Microsoft released the Cumulative Update 5 (CU5) for Scom 2007 R2.

This new update contains some additional fixes for Operations Manager 2007 R2 + support is added for Red Hat 6.

You can download the CU5 package (948.0 MB) here:

The KB2495674 article apparently is not online yet but can be found here:

For instructions on how to install a CU package in general (blog is written for CU4 but best practices can be followed for installation of CU5 as well) you can check this :

SCOM 2012: Beta is live today

A new milestone in the development of System Center Operations Manager 2012 (SCOM2012) today. The release of the beta to the public.


More info on the team blog here:

SCOM 2012 blog

A small portion of the SCOM 2012 FAQ which is something most people are very curious about:

“We’ve made significant investments to help our customers build more comprehensive monitoring for their private cloud environments, while integrating their existing datacenter investments.

  • Common console across datacenter and clouds.
    • You get a consistent view across the Operations Manager 2012 console, web console, and SharePoint, with the information you need to keep IT services running across datacenter and cloud resources. In addition, you can use dashboard templates to create custom views tailored to your specific needs.
  • Rich Application Performance Monitoring:
    • With newly integrated AVIcode technology for monitoring .NET applications, Operations Manager 2012 delivers .NET application performance monitoring and diagnostics. Additionally, support for JEE application health monitoring has been added to help ensure the availability of a broad number of business-critical applications and services.
  • Support for heterogeneous environments.
    • If you run a variety of operating systems—Windows, Linux, and UNIX servers and their workloads—Operations Manager 2012 provides a single console to monitor this heterogeneous environment.
  • Integrated network device monitoring and alerts.
    • Operations Manager 2012 now includes network device monitoring. Instead of simply monitoring each server, it is now possible to look at the underlying network topology that connects the servers. You get a single end-to-end view to help you understand how your server and network infrastructure is working as a whole—from node to network to servers to applications and services.
  • Simplified management infrastructure.
    • The use of management servers and server pools enables a highly available monitoring infrastructure without expensive hardware or complicated configurations. And with one-step setup for high availability, you get support for automatic failover.”

Here’s the direct download link:

Technet info link:

The final release is still planned for the first half of 2012. But you can evaluate it now already.


As this is beta software it’s not supported to run this in a production environment.

We’ll be blogging more on the install process and first findings soon.

SCOM 2007: How to backup your unsealed management packs

This blog post is part of a series how to backup your SCOM environment.

You can find the other parts here:

Next step in our backup process is to take a backup of our unsealed management packs to make sure we don’t loose all the customization we’ve made to the environment.

First a little bit of explanation about the difference between sealed and unsealed management packs. At my clients I sometimes see some misunderstanding about these 2 sorts of management packs.

Difference between sealed management packs and unsealed management packs.

The difference is rather simple. All the management packs you download from vendors such as Microsoft, Dell, HP,… are sealed once. They have been developed by the vendors and sealed to prevent any further customizations. These management packs often include a variety of Rules, monitors, views and even reports which are installed when you import the management pack.

All the management packs you create yourself are by default unsealed ones. In here you store all your customizations such as: overrides on the sealed management packs, custom reports, custom made rules, custom made monitors…

Notice the word “custom”… In my book the word “custom” equals a lot of time and effort are spend to create them… Don’t want to loose them in case of a disaster then!

So how do we back these up… There are basically 2 ways: Manually or automated.


If you have one unsealed management pack that you want to backup or you want to quickly back it up while working in the console you can use the following method:

Open the console and navigate to Administration > management packs > select the management pack you wish to backup and right click > choose Export Management Pack…


Select a location for your backup:


Click ok and your management pack is successful.


If you check your location you’ll see the management pack in XML format.


While the above method works like a charm for a quick backup before changing something in your management pack it’s not workable and a hassle when you want to backup several management packs. Not to forget the human factor… You have to remember to take backups of your management packs…

Automated Backup of Unsealed Management packs

Therefore the preferred way to backup is by automating it via script using PowerShell.

Microsoft has actually gave the proper tools to do so in the powershell cmdlet set for SCOM.

The command to use:

$mps = get-managementpack | where-object {$_.Sealed -eq $false}
foreach ($mp in $mps)
export-managementpack -managementpack $mp -path “C:\Backups”

There are basically 2 approaches to automate this: SCOM scheduled rule or Scheduled tasks on the RMS itself

You can make your choice based on this nice discussion to compare the 2:

I choose to use the Scheduled task method to avoid the extra (although it’s minimal) load on the server and create a management pack to monitor the process.

I’ve explained my setup here.

SCOM 2007: How to backup your SCOM IIS settings

This blog post is part of a series how to backup your SCOM environment.

You can find the other parts here:


There are 2 versions supported in SCOM and they both need a different approach to backup.

IIS6 is normally used if you are running SCOM 2007R2 on a Windows 2003 platform. It is used to support the components of the web console and the SQL Server Reporting Services. If you are using SQL Server Reporting Services from SQL 2008 IIS is not used anymore and it is just sufficient to backup the dbases.

IIS7 is normally used if you are running SCOM 2007R2 on a Windows 2008 platform (it can also run on a windows 2003 server but is not installed by default). The approach to backup IIS7 is somewhat different as it stores it’s data differently. The files you need to backup are web.config files and the applicationhost.config files. For more info on how to backup IIS 7 you can read this nice reference:

So let’s start with the backup shall we:

Backup IIS6

Connect to the RMS and navigate to Start > administrative Tools > Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager


Right click the server name and navigate to “All Tasks” > “Backup/restore Configuration…”


The configuration backup dialog box will come up.


Fill in a backup name and if you want to make a secure backup you can tick the box “Encrypt Backup using password” and supply a password for the backup.scom_07

Click OK and your backup is made…

The actual backup file is stored in “%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\MetaBack


I suggest you take a copy of this file in case your RMS is unrecoverable. Otherwise the file itself which resides on the server will also be gone and what’s the point in backing up then Smile

Backup IIS 7

Open an elevated prompt on your RMSscom_backup_encryption0014

Navigate to %windir%\system32\inetsrvscom_backup_encryption0015

Run the command “appcmd add backup “name of your backup set”. If you not specify a name a name will be generated with the date and time.


If you are using IIS 7 your live just became a little bit easier. If you are using Vista SP1 or later / Windows Server 2008 the backup is automatically done if you create an initial backup like shown below. IIS automatically makes a history snapshot of ApplicationHost.config each time it detects a change so you can easily restore a prior version. By default it will keep 10 prior versions and checks every 2 minutes.

The files are stored in “%systemdrive%\inetpub\history

Pretty cool feature if you ask me and a big improvement from the previous version.

To enumerate a list of backups and configuration history files, use the following command:

“%windir%\system32\inetsrv\appcmd.exe list backup”

SCOM 2007: How to backup your encryption key

This blog post is part of a series how to backup your SCOM environment.

You can find the other parts here:


One of the key factors in a successful restore of your environment is the SCOM encryption key.

Purpose of the key

This encryption key is used to store the data in the Operations manager dbase. It’s ensuring that the data in the dbase remains confidential and encrypted. The RMS uses this keep to read and write data to the Operations Manager dbase.

Implications of you don’t have the key at hand when restoring a Management group

Pretty severe actually. If you don’t have the key you can’t establish connection from your fresh RMS to your existing Operations Manager dbase and therefore you loose all your settings, customizations and have to start all over again.

Please note that’s it’s a best practice to take this backup once after installation of the environment and after ANY changes to the RunAs accounts in the environment.

So how do you back this key up in case Murphy pays you a visit

There are actually 2 ways: GUI or command line


Log on to your RMS with an account with admin privileges

Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to your Operations manager install folder. In this case I kept it at default so c:\program files\system center operation manager 2007\

scom_backup_encryption0000Run securestoragebackup.exe


Note: Securestoragebackup.exe is only installed if you have installed a console on your RMS. If not you need to copy the securestoragebackup.exe file from the SupportTools folder from the installation media

The Encryption Key Backup or Restore Wizard pops up:scom_backup_encryption0001

Click continue and select Backup the Encryption key.


A dialog box will appear to save your bin file. Best practice is to not save the file on the RMS. This makes perfect sense because you’ll need the file when there’s an issue with your RMS so there’s a big chance you can not reach the file.

I always save it on my file server and keep an extra copy somewhere else just to be save. As soon as you have exported the key you can make a copy of the bin file and store it twice on different locations.


So the location is set let’s continue.


Fill in a password to secure the backup bin file. Make sure you remember the password in X amount of time when you’ll need it to restore the key.


It will take no more than a few seconds to backup the key and if all goes well a nice complete message appear.



Via Command line:

Log on to your RMS with an account with admin privileges

Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to your Operations manager install folder. In this case I kept it at default so c:\program files\system center operation manager 2007\


scom_backup_encryption0007Run securestoragebackup.exe /? to get the syntax of the command.

The command used: securestoragebackup backup <filename>


You need to supply the password twice


and the second time


And the key was successfully backed up.

Downside is you cannot automate this process without further scripting because you need to put in a password. Would be nice that it would be an option in the exe to give your password as a parameter but maybe in another release Smile

SCOM 2007: Convert MOM2005 management pack guide

Recently I was working on a migration from MOM2005 towards SCOM2007R2. Unfortunately the MOM2005toSCOM2007 migration tool which was included in the SCOM2007 install media was not working anymore so I had to convert the management packs manually.

This post is for my reference whenever I need it again but in my search on the web I did not find many good write-ups so I wrote one of my own.


I needed a Microsoft Biztalk 2004 management pack in SCOM 2007. Unfortunately Microsoft never released a SCOM 2007 management pack but only a MOM2005 one.

So I had to convert it and load it into SCOM.

I’ve downloaded the management pack here:

It’s an exe file which you need to unzip to a folder of your choice. I this example I’m going to put it on c:\managementpacks .

The file you need for the initial conversion is “c:\managementpacks\microsoft biztalk server 2004 management pack\Microsoft Biztalk Server 2004.AKM”

Convert to XML

Next we need to convert the management pack to a valid XML file format which is used by Scom 2007.

You need MP2XML.exe to perform this conversion. It’s part of the MOM2005Resourcekit.

The syntax: C:\program files\microsoft operations manager resource kit\tools\convert management packs to xml\mp2xml.exe “inputfile”.akm “outputfile”.xml

so in this case C:\program files\microsoft operations manager resource kit\tools\convert management packs to xml\mp2xml.exe “c:\managementpacks\microsoft biztalk server 2004.akm” “c:\managementpacks\microsoft_biztalk_server_2004.xml”


Note the underscores in the naming. It’s not allowed to have spaces in the name of the XML file.

Convert XML to SCOM2007 format

Next thing we need to do is convert the actual XML file to SCOM2007 format.

This is achieved with the mpconvert.exe which resides on the RMS in c:\program files\System center Operations manager2007\mpconvert.exe

The syntax in our example is: c:\program files\system center operations manager 2007\mpconvert.exe “c:\managementpacks\microsoft_biztalk_server_2004.xml” “c:\managementpacks\microsoft_biztalk_server_2004_converted.xml”


Now you can load the xml in SCOM like you load any other management pack.

Import MP in SCOM2007R2

There was an error with this particular management pack resulting in a failure of the import. Turned out there was an issue with the XML.

If you want to import the management pack you get the following error:


XSD Verification failed for management pack. The ‘Name’ element is invalid. This is an issue in the XML itself. A parameter which needs to be present in the XML is either corrupt or missing.

I’ve installed XML notepad 2007 on my machine to check the xml file.

You can download this nice tool here:

Now if you look in the XML you browse down to the manifest > name field you immediately notice that the field is empty:


You can just fill in a name at the right like I did below:


Save the file and try to import the management pack again.


This time it’s working and it let’s you continue with the import.

In this example a standard mp without any customization was used from Microsoft. However during my migration I had a lot of mp’s which were full of custom rules.

I ‘ll create a Powershell script to automate this process and post it as a follow up on this blog.

If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a mail.

SCOM 2007: How to backup your dbases

This blog post is part of a series how to backup your SCOM environment.

You can find the other parts here:


In order to keep the possibility to restore your SCOM environment in case of a disaster you need to make sure that you have a good backup of your dbases.

Your dbases keep track of all the info in your environment so it’s crucial that you don’t loose these valuable assets of your environment.

A good backup strategy of your SQL dbases is crucial as you need to make sure that you always have a recent copy at hand.

If you have a backup admin in your environment and are using a backup product like Data Protection Manager it’s best to meet up with the admin to check how his SQL backup schedule is configured. If he’s confident that he provides your backups no need to backup them twice…

If not you’ll need to perform the backup yourself.

First of all a small word about the different options you have to backup a SQL dbase (this applies to all SQL dbases and is not SCOM specific)

  1. Full backup: This is self explanatory actually. You take a full backup of your dbase. In case of a restore the existing dbase will be overwritten and rolled back to the point in time where the backup was taken. This consumes the most storage space.
  2. Incremental backup: This method backs up all the differences since the last database backup. With this method you have more flexibility to do a point in time restore. It takes less space but can be more time consuming to restore.
  3. Transaction log backups: With this method you just take a backup of all the changes to the dbase since the last transaction log. This method is fast and safes some storage space but can be a hassle to restore.

A good mix of the 3 methods above is a good strategy. I always take a full backup of the operations dbase once a week (datawarehouse once a month), a incremental backup once a day (for datawarehouse once a week) and Transaction log backups every 2 hours.

Again you can skip the Transaction log backups but then you risk to loose a max of 23h59m of data.

So let’s get the backups up and running:

We’re going to create the full backup schedule for Operations dbase in this example:

Connect to the dbase.


Open the tree and go to the “OperationsManager” dbase > right click > Tasks > Back Up…


  • Select the OperationManager dbase
  • Leave backup type at full
  • Fill in a name of the backup set
  • Click backup to disk and choose Add to create the file
  • Set the expiration. I choose 40 days but again this can change according to your requirements.


Choose Options in the left pane and set:

Verify backup when finished


When all the settings are correctly configured choose Script button at the top of the page and choose “Script action to Job”.


This will generate a SQL job which you can schedule in the SQL agent so it can fire the backup when needed.

Name the job: In this case “Back up Database – OperationsManager_weekly”


Choose Schedules in the left pane and select New at the bottom:


Name the schedule and define the frequency + schedule. This will be scheduled in the SQL agent jobs.scom_backup_dbase0011

When your schedule is made > click ok and the job is created.


You can check this job in the SQL Server Agent under the tree Jobs…


This is for the Weekly full of the Operation manager dbase.

You need to complete the same steps to perform the backup schedules for your other dbases.

SCOM 2007: How to backup your environment

The funny thing is most of the admins think of backups just after they had a major crash and there were no backups available.

Most of the admin’s think backups are a hassle and they take some but loose interest in the long term. When disaster strikes they miss a vital piece to restore their environment, have an outdated backup or even worse… no backup at all.

In this series of blogs I’ll go over the different aspects of backing up your SCOM2007 environment to make sure that when Murphy is choosing you, you’re prepared…

One of my favorite cartoons to illustrate backups…


So let’s get started and get you prepared when disaster strikes.

Which components do you need for a successful restore of your environment:

This blog post is part of a series how to backup your SCOM environment.

  1. How to backup your SCOM environment
  2. How to backup your SCOM dbases
  3. How to backup your SCOM encryption key
  4. How to backup your SCOM IIS settings
  5. How to backup your unsealed management packs
  6. How to Document your SCOM installation
  7. How to Backup your Reporting

This series of blogs will be divided in the categories shown above and will be linked back to this post.

Enough talk, let’s build
Something together.